Göritz C, Dias DO, Tomilin N, Barbacid M, Shupliakov O, Frisén J.
A pericyte origin of spinal cord scar tissue.
Science. 2011 Jul 8;333(6039):238-42.
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In this paper in Science, Jonas Frisén and colleagues have identified a novel, major cell population in the scar that forms after spinal cord injury, and that has commonly been referred to as the "glial scar." The authors convincingly show that pericytes, normally associated with the vasculature, constitute a large fraction in the scar. This was demonstrated by an elegant cell lineage-tracing experiment in mice. The discovery is not only important for obtaining better insights into which cells populate the scar, but also opens new perspectives for future therapies, as pericytes are controlled by key signaling pathways that are druggable. In this paper, the authors also show that modulation of pericyte recruitment may have effects on the motor deficits observed after the injury, which suggests that efforts to control pericyte recruitment and function may be worthwhile in the quest for future therapies.